One of the most fascinating aspects of the sport is the wide range of venues where spectators can watch their favorite teams perform. Every professional league has its share of quirky stadia and unusual conditions, particularly in the world of baseball, where MLB stadiums come in all shapes and sizes.
Some of these stadiums are fun to look at, while others can have a marked effect on the event. Sportsbook operators, as well as coaches and players, understand that certain venues require distinct tactics or styles of play. Then again, there are plenty of stadiums around the world that are just amazing in their own right. Here are some of the most unusual.
Tennis has generated a number of strange sports venues over the years, mostly to promote the sport or a specific event, rather than for the sake of competition.
The Qatar Open, which is usually the first event of the year, is known for trying to outdo itself every year in terms of event advertising, with various unusual tennis settings. One year, a platform that looked like a magic carpet was suspended 15 feet above Doha's streets. Other quirky venues included a classic Doha boat and a tennis court on the water.
The strangest tennis venue of all time was seen in February 2005, when Roger Federer played Andre Agassi on a helipad in Dubai to promote the Dubai Duty Free Championships, in one of the most unique sporting settings of all time!
Squash has been played in several strange locations, but unlike tennis, some of these venues are competitive, including a notable event held right here in the US.
The Tournament of Champions is a prestigious squash competition that was first held in 1930. In recent years, the event has been held yearly in New York's Grand Central Terminal's Vanderbilt Hall, in a specially created squash court with four glass walls in the center of the hall. Squash has also been played at the Boston Symphony Hall.
Michigan Stadium, with a capacity of 109,901, is deservedly known as The Big House, but what is remarkable is that this huge stadium does not make a mark on the cityscape. That’s because many of its seats are actually below ground level. This remarkable venue was built in the 1920s but has since been updated and holds the record for football attendance of 115,000.
But the most notable football stadium in the US could well be the Cathy Parker Stadium, home of the Barrow Whalers. The only football field that can be found inside the Arctic circle, it was built after a mother from Florida heard about the Barrow football team being without a home field. She started a fundraising effort that raised over $500,000 for the school, and naturally, they named the field in her honor.
In what must be one of the oddest sports arenas in the world, the generally warm-weather sport of golf takes on a peculiar twist in an annual event. Since 1999, the World Ice Golf Championships have been held at the Uummannaq Golf Course in Greenland.
Ice Golf has developed a cult following among golf fans. Despite not being deemed respectable enough to be included on the PGA calendar, everyone involved takes the tournament very seriously. The competition is split into two single-day events, with the first round following the format of the original Ryder Cup, but dubbed the Niemann Cup after its inventor in the Ice Golf world.
The Carrier Classic is a basketball game that originally took place on Veteran's Day, November 11, 2011, on the USS Carl Vinson. The unconventional venue drew national attention, as witnessed by President Barack Obama's visit. The NCAA teams North Carolina Tar Heels and Michigan State Spartans competed in the game. In 2012, the event was hosted for the second year in a row, but games were canceled owing to condensation on the court. The event hasn't been held since, due to the apparent logistical challenges of organizing a sporting event on a fully operational aircraft carrier!
The Marina Bay Float is a multi-purpose venue in Singapore that has hosted a variety of sporting events, including football matches. The sporting stadium resembles an island, with only three pathways connecting it to the mainland. Aside from sporting events, the arena hosts music and festival events.
It is located next to the Marina Bay Street Circuit, which is one of the world's most peculiar sports arenas, hosting the F1 Singapore Grand Prix every year.